Otto Kruger — Mark The Perfect Man! (1935) 🇺🇸
He is Otto Kruger whose wife can’t find a fault in him after eight years, whose daughter adores him, whose servants lower their voices when they speak of the master, and whose critics have yet to find a flaw in his performances.
by Maude Lathem
If I were not so completely under his spell, I should call Otto Kruger a fake.
I am taking it for granted that you are well up on Mr. Kruger; that you have read some of the startling interviews with him, in which he states that a man is only as old as his love, and that he has remained twenty-five years at heart by continually finding new romance
You will recall, too, how often he has said that no man has will power enough to resist the women of Hollywood, and that no wife who went to Hollywood unprepared could hope to weather the storm. Because of this, he began training his wife long before she reached there. Also, that he is always in love with his leading woman — more than others, but always enamored.
Now, I find that these stories about his romances are figments of his imagination — rather, I should say, concocted on the inspiration of the moment, either to please the interviewer or to produce an effect on the reader. Often when reminded of something he has said previously, he laughingly remarks “Oh, did I say that?” while his eyes have a mischievous twinkle.
Notwithstanding all the interesting stories to the contrary, I bring you the fact that his home life is ideal; that his marriage is about as perfect as it has been my lot to see: that he is an adoring father, a splendid provider.
Actually he is the kind of man who, when playing on the stage, could be counted on to arrive home at exactly twenty minutes after the last curtain. And he is a one-woman man to the last fiber of his being.
I was so intrigued by all the electrifying statements made by this man who played three hundred roles on the stage — at least ten years of which he spent in portraying the perfect lover — before he entered pictures, that I could hardly wait to meet Mrs. Kruger.
I have been meeting wives of famous stars for years, but rarely have I met one with the intelligence, sincerity, and humor of Otto Kruger’s partner. She reminds me of the wife of a famous stage star who was once approached by another beautiful woman on the subject of divorcing her husband, “so he could have his happiness.” Without batting an eye, the wife replied, “Why, my dear, you have taken him seriously! How tragic! He can’t help making love to all his leading women.” I know Sue Kruger would have answered just like that.
Not only has she never been jealous, but it was Otto who went through this dreadful period. You see, he married beautiful Sue MacManamy, well-known actress, who had been engaged to Richard Dix. Otto wouldn’t have married a woman other men weren’t crazy about, but he couldn’t enjoy seeing men make love to her on the stage.
After the green-eyed monster had disturbed the couple for about a year, Sue said to Otto one day, “Let’s sit down and talk this out, and have done with the thing. You’re making me utterly miserable and I know you are wretched. Now, you’re intelligent, and you know I love you better than any man in the world, or I wouldn’t have married you. I know you feel the same about me. Can’t we be sensible and remember this and never doubt again?”
That’s just what they did, and from, that day to this, there has been no more jealousy in the Kruger household.
I know you want to hear what she said about his saying he was in love with Madge Evans when they made a picture together.
“Certainly he was. He loves them all, but there’s safety in numbers, you know,” she explains, “I understand him so perfectly, because I‘ve been through all that. I know he couldn’t work with a woman whom he did not think he was in love with at the moment. I remember what a crush I had on Ralph Morgan when I played with him. He will probably laugh when he reads this. He and his wife are among our closest friends now. Also, I was much interested in Lowell Sherman, to say nothing of other leading men — Richard Dix, Douglas MacLean, Warner Baxter, and David Butler. So, you see, I know how much — and how little — stage romance can mean in a man’s life.
“Otto and I knew, from the minute we met, that we loved each other. We met on a Friday, he proposed on the following Sunday, and less than three weeks later we were married. Wasn’t that taking a chance? I’m glad to report, though, that I’m ten times as much in love with him now, after eight years, as I was the day I married him. If he has a single fault, I have yet to discover it.”
This, then, is the man we have pictured as eager to sneak away from home and make love to another woman any time he has a chance!
I inquired for Ottilie, the little seven-year-old daughter that Jackie Cooper is crazy about at the moment. I wanted to see if she were like her father.
“Dear, funny little old daddy,” she calls him. “I gave him that name one night when he was acting as nurse when mother was away, because he put my pajamas on wrong, so I’ve just called him that ever since.” The tender look on her face when she spoke of her father was all the evidence I needed of their devotion to each other.
I thought if I could question the cook or any one of the seven members of the household, I might get some inside information. I did. The lot of them think Otto Kruger is just about perfect. They lower their voices when they speak of him. They remember that he never raises his. They vow, by all the saints, that he has never, under any provocation, been irritable; that he has never spoken an unkind word to a soul.
It was good business for Mr. Kruger, when he found himself seemingly forgotten by MGM for months after they signed him, to publicize himself in the best Hollywood manner. Certainly he achieved this result, whether it was intentional or not, and by the time the studio began casting him in worth while parts, he was already being talked about as one of the most appealing men on the screen.
He has sex-appeal all right. We couldn’t discredit that if we would. He has such an intensity in his voice that you feel the fire and vigor of the man back of it — always as if he were suppressing more energy than lie is giving out.
When Hollywood women recognized this, they wanted to know if In- was in love with his wife. They wanted to think they might have a chance to win him. And he answered them! With the most marvelous stories — stories of his infidelity, disbelief in marriage, of the absolute necessity of freedom for the actor, and so on.
But his hold on the hearts of women will not be diminished by the knowledge that he is a devoted husband and model father. It was well enough to intrigue Hollywood, and quickly catch its interest by fabricated stories, but nothing will make women admire him more than to learn that no woman can tear him away from his wife.
But I must tell you something about Otto Kruger outside his love life.
Golf is his real hobby, so far as outside sports are concerned. Music, however, is his real outlet. He plays beautifully, not only on the piano but almost every kind of instrument.
He is a competent, experienced forested, and an expert electrician. And he thinks all these things have helped to make him a better actor.
Mrs. Kruger is extraordinary, too. She expects her husband to think he is in love with every actress he plays opposite. Daughter Ottilie says, “Dear, funny little old daddy.”
Photo by Ball
Overlooked after a studio had placed him under contract, Otto Kruger decided to publicize himself, and this was accomplished in such a clever way that by the time the studio recognized his ability, he was already considered one of the most appealing men on the screen and fans were excited. However, it is the description of Mr. Kruger’s home life, opposite, that will endear him anew.
Photo by Grimes
Source: Picture Play, January 1935